Is it every okay to have bad manners?
That might seem like a strange question coming from someone who is so passionate about etiquette.
However, the answer to this question could save your life.
Last evening, there was a knock at my friend’s door. She was home alone with her 3-year-old daughter, cooking dinner. It was just getting dark outside.
She peaked out the door, and a large woman was standing there. She asked her what she wanted and she started making all sorts of strange and inappropriate comments.
Recently her community had an issue with teams of thieves in which one person knocked on the front door to distract the occupant, while the rest of the team broke into the house from the back.
Her husband was not going to be home for a couple of hours, and she was scared. Something was clearly wrong with this situation. She spoke very sharply to the woman at the door and told her to go away immediately. Then she called the police and had her husband rush home.
The fact is….there is a time to have bad manners — for you, and perhaps more urgently, for your kids.
When we are in a situation that raises red flags and doesn’t seem right, or where we feel like we are or could quickly get into danger, then we need to react swiftly and with urgency.
If you ever take a self-defense class the first thing they teach you is….
When you are in danger, throw out everything you have ever learned about being polite. Scream in public. Make a scene. Do whatever it takes to distract the attacker and escape. If it comes to it, you bite, scratch, kick, and spit. Use anything around you as a weapon. Do what it takes to find an opening and get near people who can help.
This is especially relevant for our kids. We live in challenging times. Predators seem more common than ever before — and often they are people that our kids know and are supposed to trust. We need to teach them that in most situations, good manners are essential. However, we also need to teach them to get good at recognizing red flags, and knowing when it is acceptable and required to speak up, make a scene, and get out of danger fast.
Last night, thank goodness, some sharp words and a call to the police did the trick, and all is well at my friend’s home this morning. For once, bad manners paid off!
Check out Cotillion that starts February 7. We won’t teach you self defense, but we will teach you good manners!